Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Go with the flow

Tuesday, 2-23-10

Learning to go with the flow is something you must do to survive here. Trying to fit people’s lives here into our deadline-obsessed, immediate response, demanding world does not work. My German-like attitude of promptness, over-organization, and time-efficiency must be altered slightly. The culture is a reminder for me to plan ahead of time while keeping in mind that things might change. We can have a schedule but must allow ourselves to be flexible as well. I’ve done my best to adapt to the different pace of life by taking naps in the hammock (didn’t do that today, possibly tomorrow).

A good example of this skill was school today. I taught my first three classes as usual. I had two sixth grade classes and a third grade class. Toward the end of my third grade class I saw some kids leaving the school. I wasn’t really sure where they were going so I walked on to my fourth grade class. No one was there. I briefly caught a teacher and asked what was going on. Apparently classes were letting out early, but the afternoon classes would be held as scheduled. So I headed out the door for the Casa. Walking home I ran into Pedro, who translates sometimes when delegations come. I asked him if he knew what was going on. He said he thought it had something to do with trucks that were delivering food, but he didn’t really know. I’m still not exactly sure why they were letting out early, and that’s okay.

While everyone was out today and I was by myself at the Casa, the door buzzed, meaning someone was at the door. I opened it to see a few guys who had a question. I told them I wouldn’t be able to help them because I didn’t work here and didn’t know much. When Kathy came back from her meeting she told me there were two guys waiting on the corner saying they’d talked to a “chelita” at the door. That would be me: chelita. The word is Salvadoran slang, which in El Salvador is called caliche. Chelita comes from the caliche word “Chele” which means basically means fair, blonde, or Caucasian person. They used the word chelita because I’m young (-ito, -ita). So chelita means young, fair skinned one. Perhaps this should be my new nick name.

In the late afternoon we went for a walk in Berlín. We walked to Colonia Jardín to see a house that was made of material donated by the Pastoral Team. Kathy called it an oven because it’s made of metal. We also saw their new community center. Along the way we stopped to say hi to some people. It was nice to see a part of Berlín I hadn’t been to before. I like walking around and exploring new areas in town.

"The clock is a conspiracy & a crime against humanity & I would not own one except I miss appointments without it." Clock Crimes (Brian Andreas)

Getting closer to the center of Berlín

Nap time

To the right is the new house that was built

The bloom on this plant in the national flower of El Salvador, called Izote

Kathy playing with the kids

A goat in someone's house

Drying clothes by the street

I like the pink house in the background

The Red Cross of Berlín

Sign on the front of the Red Cross

Signs in town

A house not far from the Casa


Anonymous said...

Alisha, I'm glad you are learning how to go with the flow their. Some lessons we could learn here too. Enjoyed your pictures and seeing you in a picture!! Thanks for sharing your day with us. Take care - Kevin

Matt said...

Yeah, I think relaxing a bit and not getting so caught up into schedules would be a good thing for people here to learn. Hopefully you can bring some of that attitude back with you.

gringainelsalvador said...

I relate. It's "OK" to go so slowly you are not moving, and no one will notice. I had 'ants in the pants' when I first moved here, but that wore off after about 9 months. So used to the 'pace' here that a recent visit to the states was exasperating.